Exit Notes -blind faith

Victory Over Blindness, Manchester Piccadilly Station.

Boris Johnson, the latest British prime minister, kissed the Queen’s hand and rushed out to fly the flag outside his new lodgings in Downing Street. “Everyone knows the values that flag represents. It stands for freedom and free speech and habeas corpus and the rule of law and above all it stands for democracy.” If, somewhere in the bowels of Belmarsh, Julian Assange muttered jack shit he would have been entirely correct.

British judges have ignored the ruling of UN experts that Assange is being arbitrarily detained and should be freed. Rather than comply they have intensified their collective persecution. They have scoffed at Assange’s fear of being subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment if he is extradited to the US . Such dreadful things do not happen under the constitution in the land of the free and the brave.

America’s Western allies and client states vie for favouritism. A harem of admirers all claim a special place in the heart of the sultanate. There was not a murmur of dissent when former prime minister Giuseppe Conte recently reminded the Italian parliament:

 Our relationship with the United States remains qualitatively different from those that we have with other powers, because it is based on shared values and principles which are the very foundations of the Republic and an integral part of our Constitution: democratic sovereignty, the liberty and equality of all citizens, the defence of the fundamental rights of the person.

Geographer and geopolitical scientist, Manlio Dinucci called the speech grotesque. He said it required “colossal historical mystification” to describe a racist and imperialist oligarchy, the “main predator of humanity”, as the model of a democratic society.

Through the 243 year existence of the Republic there have been only 21 years in which the US was not at war in pursuit of its manifest destiny or actively killing hope of progressive social change across the planet. Yet the myth of American munificence persists, and remains one of the most dangerous ideas of our time. It is a triumph of unrelenting propaganda and blinds a receptive public to a historical record of wanton aggression and sheer brutality.

The writer William Blum talked about the problem shortly before his death last year.

(It) is a deeply-held conviction that no matter what the US does abroad, no matter how bad it may look, no matter what horror may result, the government of the United States means well. American leaders may make mistakes, they may blunder, they may lie, they may even on many occasions cause more harm than good, but they do mean well. Their intentions are always honorable, even noble. Of that the great majority of Americans are certain.

Blum noted the key role of the education system in brain-washing Americans.

Frances Fitzgerald, in her famous study of American school textbooks, summarized the message of these books: “The United States has been a kind of Salvation Army to the rest of the world: throughout history it had done little but dispense benefits to poor, ignorant, and diseased countries. The U.S. always acted in a disinterested fashion, always from the highest of motives; it gave, never took.” And Americans genuinely wonder why the rest of the world can’t see how benevolent and self-sacrificing America has been.

School is merely the beginning. Universities reinforce the indoctrination substituting vulgar abstraction for political economy. Dissidence is punished in the workplace and the faculty of disinterest usurped by a contempt for reality in academia. That Hiroshima and Nagasaki were cynically incinerated and that the US planned to nuke a further 204 cities becomes fake scholarship. The truth that racism is a common trait among US presidents and there is nothing exceptional about Trump’s bigotry dissolves into heresy.

In Britain the kingdom annually convulses into unity remembering those who ostensibly fell, willingly and heroically in defence of democracy in two ‘world’ wars. It is a triumph of elite propaganda that this ‘feel-good’ narrative continues to suffocate the social imagination providing the bedrock for the delusion of ‘the national interest’.

The historian Jacques Pauwels provides a more sober account of World War 1.

The Great War did not suddenly “break out” in that glorious summer of 1914, and it was not a case of collective “folly.” War had been “in the air” for many years, and was very much wanted. It was wanted, and was gratuitously unleashed, by Europe’s elite: a combination of the aristocracy of large landowners and the upper bourgeoisie, consisting of industrialists and financiers. It was wanted not only by the elite of Germany, but of all countries that would be involved in the bloody conflict. These gentlemen did not “sleepwalk” into the war, but entered it with a clear head and open eyes. The European elite expected that war would bring great benefits. War would make it possible to put an end to the process of political and social democratization, a process that had started with the French Revolution in 1789. In other words, it would offer the elite an opportunity to arrest, and perhaps even to “roll back” the rise of the allegedly ignorant and dangerous lower classes, which threatened its power, wealth and privileges. The elite also believed that war would exorcize the spectre of social revolution, eliminating that danger once and for all.

Macgregor and Docherty have spent years intensively researching the history of the first world war.

Mainstream historians tell us that Germany was guilty of starting WW1 and committing the most barbarous crimes throughout. Proud, virtuous Britain, on the other hand, was forced to go to war against this German evil to fight ‘for freedom, civilisation and the integrity of small helpless nations.’ It is all a deliberately concocted lie. Patriotic myths and the victors’ wartime lies and propaganda had been scripted into Britain’s “Official History.” In truth, Britain – or to be more precise, immensely rich and powerful men in Britain – were directly responsible for the war that killed over 20 million people. Kaiser Wilhelm II and Germany did not start the war, did not want war and did what they could to avoid it.”

 Jacques Pauwels has scrutinised the widespread claim that the US fought World War 11 to defeat fascism and preserve democracy in Europe and found that it is a cover story for greed, duplicity, treachery and the gratuitous slaughter of millions of innocents. Corporate America admired Hitler and adored his rabid hatred of communism. The game plan for the US – with junior partner Britain in tow – was to re-arm Germany at a handsome profit enabling the Nazis to destroy America’s real enemy, the Soviet Union. There was no great American crusade against fascism and militarism, simply a conflict in which business interests, money, and profits were at stake. US capital and British cunning stoked the war and oiled the engines of death. But the myth of the good war has remained virtually impregnable until recently.

Countless people inside and outside the United States have come to question the official rationales for the “war on terrorism” and are convinced that it is really — though not necessarily exclusively — about resources such as oil, obviously a commodity of great interest to oil trusts associated with former president George W. Bush, and about profits for the “military-industrial complex,” exemplified by corporations such as Halliburton, closely associated with former vice-president Dick Cheney. In this context it has become less difficult to accept the notion, put forward in this book, that even in World War II, America’s quintessential “good war,” the role of the United States was determined far more by the interests of the country’s big corporations and banks than by the idealistic motives conjured up at the time by the authorities and echoed ever since in the media, in schools and universities, in history books, and, of course, in Hollywood productions. World War II… is no longer the “untouchable” historiographical sacred cow it still was a dozen years ago.

But the waggon rolls on. In Portsmouth in June, Trump starred alongside former British prime minister Theresa May in a lavish homage to D Day. The betrayal of Russia was airbrushed out of history and the fiction that the Normandy landings marked the turning point of the war reinforced. Russia which had broken the back of the Blitzkrieg and ensured the defeat of Germany was not even invited. Russophobia remains a defining feature of westerners even when, as Abel Cohen notes, they should really be thanking Russia for winning World War 11.

Russia celebrates victory over the Third Reich on May 9th; the West celebrated it on May 8th. Separate celebrations make sense because the communists had a different fight against the Nazis than the free world did. The USA fought a quarter of the war that our Soviet allies waged – and we opened fire on them at the end. D-Day was timed to halt Russia’s advance west; not to liberate the continent from white supremacists. Western powers waited to open the second front until 11 months before the war ended because our richest racists kept doing business with the Aryans until 1945. There are many ways to visualize the fraction of the war fought by Western powers: More Uzbeks than Americans died. 14% of the USSR’s prewar population, 2k towns, 70k villages, 40k miles of railroad, and 100k collective farms were wiped out in a race war. In Stalingrad, only one building still stood after the battle… In January 1945, the Nazis killed almost as many Soviets as Americans died in all theaters of the whole war combined. In the final battle for Berlin, the USSR lost 80k. Everywhere else at that time, the USA lost only 9k. Of WWII’s total 70m dead, half were on the Eastern Front…For the year the Western Front lasted, less than 5m troops fought there and civilian casualties were incomparable. Russia signed non-aggression pacts with the Aryans and Japanese out of desperation to slow the devastation of Slavic civilization, but that doesn’t diminish the tragedy of nearly 30m dead Soviet peasants.

The “war against terrorism” is now being complemented by a new cold war against Russia. Pauwels says:

If it depends on the American power elite, new “good wars” may sooner or later also have to be fought against Iran, North Korea, and maybe even China. Preventing such wars will not be easy, but is certainly possible. Even with the eager assistance of the majority of our media, Bush and Blair found it difficult to “sell” their war against Iraq. If the United States would ever be forced to stop waging wars, the moment of truth  would arrive for the American economy. Could US capitalism survive such an “outbreak” of peace? Subjected to a permanent state of siege, Soviet socialism could not survive. Could American capitalism survive without being under siege, that is, without enemies, without being threatened, with-out being able to fight wars, “good” wars or other wars?

Dr Lissa Johnson writing in The New Matilda says that the enhanced interrogation techniques developed for the CIA by psychologists Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen can be used to produce false confessions to sell wars and stave off peace.

According to former senior officials, a tortured false confession was pivotal to Colin Powell’s infamous UN speech pressing for the Iraq War, unbeknownst to Powell at the time. CIA director George Tenet and MI6, however, did apparently have an inkling. So, with a War on Terror to wage, and false confessions to be gained, psychologists Mitchell and Jessen set to work designing a torture program. Along with traditional forms of state brutality such as slamming people’s heads against walls and stringing them up naked, the pair’s combined psychological creativity spawned such innovations as: rectally force feeding victims with hummus, pasta and nuts; sexually assaulting them with broomsticks; locking them in boxes of insects; threatening to harm their children and slit their mothers throats, or rape their mothers in front of them.

The US has been waging a war against Wikileaks since 2008 and there is little doubt that Assange will be unsparingly tortured when he is extradited by the British. There is a compelling and obvious reason. The barbarity with which the elite culled young men forcing them over the top to certain death, firebombed civilians as in Dresden, nuked Japanese cities and accomplished other horrors requires deception, secrecy and wall to wall propaganda. Wikileaks can never be allowed to reveal their demented plans for the coming wars in real time.

Meanwhile Boris Johnson is discovering that undermining the EU – described by the French historian Annie Lacroix-Riz as a US scheme to control Europe indirectly but securely via a reliable German partner- has consequences. Palace rivalries are spawning threats of impeachment and imprisonment and the judiciary is being shamelessly hustled to ensure Britain remains in the EU.

Boris may never kiss the hand of the Queen again.

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Chinaman

I didn’t watch England beat New Zealand and win the Cricket World Cup. For some time now I have maintained an idiosyncratic protest against neoliberal cricket, particularly the strain cultivated in India. In 1992 however in a short film for the BBC I predicted the renaissance of leg spin bowling in England. And I hope the leaders of the Commonwealth meeting in 2013 were entertained by this piece included in the official publication. Continue reading

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